Military Wives As Surrogate Mothers

July 2, 2008

This issue bothers me on several levels, which I’ll address in this post. As many of you know, I work in the field of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault as a Victim Advocate. In that capacity, I see a lot of victims of domestic violence. This story rang a lot of warning bells in my head, as I can see the potential for problems occurring in relationships where this occurs. But besides the obvious impact something like this could have on Domestic Violence incidents, is the financial aspect and how it can impact not just the military spouse who choses to become a surrogate mother, but other military spouses and spouses of veterans.

In the military, while the service member pays a small monthly premium for their family’s health care, as long as that family member receives their healthcare on a military installation, there are no deductibles or co-pays. It’s apparent that surrogacy groups are taking advantage of that and putting other military families at risk of having their monthly premiums increased or even causing them to have to begin paying deductibles and co-pays. By using a military wife as a surrogate mother, surrogacy groups avoid paying about $20,000 for a standard surrogacy medical policy. They also don’t have to pay the deductibles and co-payments. Because of this advantage, some surrogacy groups will pay an additional $5,000 premium to military wives. After reading this article, I spoke to several military wives, wives of retirees, as well as Soldiers and military retirees. To a person, they all said that this angers them, because things like this drive the costs up for everyone else and they felt it was unfair that a military wife would take advantage of the Tricare medical insurance, in order to put some extra money in their pocket. I tend to agree with them. Tricare for retirees and their families does require the retiree to pay deductibles and co-pays, as well as a much higher premium each month. We’ve all seen the news reports about retiree Tricare being on the rise. Things like this just make those rates continue to increase. Then you also have the issue that the military wives who are surrogates are commiting fraud at the expense of American taxpayers.

Now I’ll more thoroughly address the issue of how this can possibly affect Domestic Violence rates. For myself, I see this type of thing compounding the numbers of domestic violence cases, that are already seen in the military, numbers that are a direct reflection of domestic violence incidents seen in American society. With the stressors of multiple deployments occurring and stressors that are caused from injuries and illnesses, I can see this creating a situation ripe for domestic violence. Sometimes, with a Soldier deployed, there are doubts about what their spouse is doing back home. Some wonder, sometimes with good reason, if their wive is being faithful to them while their deployed. By adding surrogate motherhood into the mix of an already possibly volatile situation, the potential of a domestic violence incident occurring increases. I did find it interesting in the article, that it wasn’t mentioned the thoughts of the husbands. No husbands were interviewed about their thoughts and feelings. Kind of makes you wonder, doesn’t it? I know it did me.

While I don’t condem anyone who is unable to have children, for chosing the route of using a surrogate mother, I do feel that in this situation, it’s not only fradulent, but ripe for so many potential problems. In this instance, as in other instances of surrogate motherhood, the standard surrogate insurance plan should be purchased, instead of expecting the American taxpayers to foot the bill. I’m sure this topic is going to create some interesting conversations and hopefully get many people to thinking. I know that I’ll be letting my Congressmen know my thoughts on this issue. I would be interested in hearing what others think about this issue.

San Diego Union Tribune


14 Responses to “Military Wives As Surrogate Mothers”

  1. Pepe Johnson on July 2nd, 2008 9:34 am

    Good attention to detail on this post. It’s obvious that the surrogacy programs are aware of how TRICARE works since they are giving military wives a “premium.”

    I think it would be alright for a military wife to be a surrogate if she is carrying the child for someone who is in her or her husband’s family or for another military family. It would also be okay if the surrogacy program was paying for her care just as they would for a civilian. TANSTAAFL - There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.

    You’re right about the potential for domestic violence, too. In some cases it may not lead to violence, but it could contribute to a divorce or separation, which aren’t exactly good things either. Perhaps it could be avoided by requiring the husband to consent to his wife being a surrogate. If he consents, then he couldn’t use it as an excuse to commit acts of violence or as grounds for divorce.

  2. Terri on July 2nd, 2008 3:20 pm

    This senario has just too much potential for violence, given the situation that most of our Troops find themselves in, with multiple deployments and the stress and trauma that often goes along with those deployments. I really think it’s a travesty that these surrogacy agencies are taking advantage of the fact that on military installations, the spouses don’t have the co-pays and deductibles … thus, WE’RE paying for it. To me, it spells bad news all the way around.

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  5. Lynlee on August 28th, 2008 11:41 am


    I work for New Life Agency, a company solely dedicated to insurance for assisted reproduction. We were recently advised by Tricare representatives that if a Tricare beneficiary is a surrogate mother then her medical costs are covered. However, if this woman is compensated for her surrogacy then Tricare will require reimbursement for the claims. I hope that by this information coming to light that fewer military surrogates will take the huge risks and protect themselves with different surrogate medical coverage policies.


  6. Lynlee on August 28th, 2008 12:19 pm


    This is a really great post. I would like to inform you about the risk involved if a military spouse becomes a surrogate. If a woman uses Tricare benefits to pay for her surrogate pregnancy, and she is compensated for that pregnancy, Tricare WILL require reimbursement for any claims they have paid out. This is not in the best interest of the surrogate! I work for New Life Agency, a company that deals solely in insurance for assisted reproduction, and we have this in writing directly from Tricare. I hope that agencies, attorneys, and surrogates alike will educate themselves and not take such an unnecessary risk. They should purchase a separate policy to cover the surrogate pregnancy.

    Have a wonderful day!

  7. Terri on August 28th, 2008 3:40 pm

    Thanks so much for that information Lynlee. As you said, there are risks involved if they chose to utilize Tricare for this. This is great information that those considering becoming a surrogate should consider before they do so.

  8. GSx3 on October 15th, 2008 11:38 am

    I myself am a gestational surrogate as well as a military spouse. I can tell you from my experience that surrogacy IN NO WAY increases the risk of abuse. That is like saying my husband would abuse me while I was pregnant with our own child. I have never seen a surrogate be abused by her spouse over surrogacy. This is a choice the most families make together. We sat down and made a list of the pros and cons of doing this for another family. We knew it would be a sacrifice in more ways than one but the benefits FAR outweighed the negatives! Everyone in the family has to be in agreement for a journey to work. The kids knew they would have to pitch in and help out more around the house in the beginning and the end. Hubby knew there would be times when I couldn’t cook dinner because the smells would make me sick. The kids knew I could potentially miss out on things for appointments and such. It is a family choice just like having another baby for our own family. I

    I was compensated for my surrogacy journies but that wasn’t the driving factor to me at all. I got to help 2 families have 3 children. *I* got to be the one to hand their biological child to them at the end of my 9 months of being that childs nanny. I got to witness something so amazing that to this day I still get goose bumps when I think about those moments. I got to teach my children a lesson that most people will never get to teach their children. I am done being a surrogate mom but I am very proud of what I have done as are my husband and my children.

    I have been in the surrogate community for well over 6 years now. I have been an active poster on the two major surrogate communites for years as well. I have never seen the issues that you speak of. Do you realize the level of screening that we have to go through before even being allowed to become a surrogate? Our entire lives are poked and prodded including our marriages and our mental health. I have even had home studies done on my home before being allowed to carry a baby for someone else. Are there people whose spouses abuse them while they are a surrogate mom? I am sure there are but it is unlikely given the screenings we have to go through.

    As for the insurance…..I won’t even go there except to say that it is a COVERED BENEFIT according to our handbooks. They can come back and seek money if it is compensated and have done so in recent months as they should. BUT, when they do come back it doesn’t come out of the surrogates pockets…..the parents are responsible for paying it back provided they had a good contract written.

  9. jennifer on November 4th, 2008 3:20 pm

    I just spoke with tricare about this very subject and was told that there has to be a contract between the Intended (adoptive) parents Insurance and Tricare. Tri care will cover all PRENATAL care (because it is the member that they are taking care of and are concerned for her health) and that all the pre and post care will be cost shared, Including the birth. THe IP’s will be TOTALLY responsible for the care of the baby once the cord has been cut. There is no difference if the surrogate was compensated or not everything has to do with the contracts.
    Also about surrogacy increasing the risk of DV, no more than sending our guys off to war and then not providing them with the therapy they need before coming home. As a surrogate you go through so much red tape that you would think you would have a top secret clearance by the time you were done (actually my husband didn’t have to go through half of what surrogates do to get his clearance). If there was a potential for violence then it would (more than likely) have been found out long before a matching ever happened.

  10. Olivia on February 14th, 2009 8:00 am

    I am a marine wife who is struggling to concieve myself. i don’t think using a military surrogate for a non militart family is very ethical, and in addition it kind of pisses me off. Getting good healthcare in the military is already hard without people misusing the system, driving up costs and down quality of care.

  11. Mom of 3 on February 28th, 2009 4:27 am

    I am really kind of dumbfounded at this article.. If we are going to ramble on we need to know the facts… As with anything we don’t know much about, understand or our closed mindedness will not allow us to see..
    I will point out my experiences. First, Tricare isn’t the ultra premium insurance that everyone is claiming it to be. Yes, you don’t pay deductibles etc. BUT Tricare is so cheap as to what they will pay on items that you are limited to which doctors WILL actually except the insurance. When I was pregnant with our last child an aquaintance of mine was pregnant as well… She with her sixth child was using good ol’ Medicade as she had her previous 5… I don’t hear anyone moaning about how the taxpayers are paying for that.. Medicade pays better than Tricare so guess who got the premium choice in doctors?? Not me..I had 2 to choose from.
    If a person were to get pregnant as a surrogate what does the insurance cover? Just as stated the insurance is paying for my care not the care of the child I am carrying.. The intended parent would cover the birth and child..
    Yes, you are supposed to make Tricare aware that you are doing this for profit. The big white elephant here that people are missing is that they can not mandate it. They also can not go back through your medical records and call you out on it. Just like you have to sign a HIPPA waiver just for you spouse to pick up your records upon relocation. Your insurance does not have carte blanche to view all your records. They are only given snippets of medical things.. All in coding etc. Try reading the articles out there that were verified with Tricare etc. They state the facts. Try Newsweek searching under Tricare Surrogacy instead of this rant of an “article”.
    I can not even begin to scratch the surface on how ignorant I think the statment of my husband will start beating me if I am a surrogant is.. Surrogacy is not for everone.. It should not be considered by everyone as an option. Everyone that wants to be a surrogate is not accepted.. How a person can correlate surrogacy with domestic violence is beyond me. Do you even know of such cases that you have had direct experience with?? Not tales of or rumors of but direct experience??!!!
    To comment on blaming the small percentage of surro moms using their insurance is causing retirees insurance premiums is to quick to pay the blame game. What about increases in medical premiums across the board for all companies? You still blaming surro military spouses for that? The increase probably has nothing to with the fact that people live so much longer that 50 years ago now does it? It probably also has nothing to do with the fact that people sue for malpractice more that 10 years ago even now does it??
    Lets do some math here. In the the Newsweek article thay are estimating that 400 surro births occur every year. As much as half are military spouses. Just the Air Force alone has 330,000 active duty members. This does not include guard, active duty or guard spouses or child dependants. So lets say the total is roughly 1million. Keeping in mind this is just one branch of the service. That is .02% of possible Tricare recepients that would make such claims for surro pregnancies. Lets consider military wide roughly encompassing 5.5 million possible Tricare recipients. That would make your claim .004% of eligable active duty members and their families making surro claims. You mean to tell me that is whats driving up the cost for retirees?? Hmmm find that a little hard to believe…
    Please also explain to my why it is congress would not even humor changing the Tricare policy if this was such a desparate issue. They sited it to be so minute and incalculable they didn’t even humor it any further.

  12. Mom of 3 on February 28th, 2009 4:34 am

    I am still not understanding how this is misuse? Quality of care is not dictated by the miniscule percentage of women that surrogate children. Its dictated by whom you are receiving care from, what you will allow as care and the quality of doctors willing to accept Tricare.
    Also, does a non-member deserve a quality willing surrogant any less than an active duty family just because of who they get their insurance from?? That is rather backwards thinking is it not??

  13. Jeff on April 5th, 2009 8:29 pm

    Another way to squeeze more money out of the US tax payer….this is rediculous that we are subsidzing this crap! Is this how the DOD is utiliing taxpayer dollars?

  14. Grantmom on May 6th, 2009 9:46 am

    It is important to understand that the purpose and vision of TRICARE is “To provide a world-class health system that meets all wartime and peacetime health care needs for active duty and retired military and their families.” This is an earned benefit that should be used as just that, not as a money making scheme. To use TRICARE coverage a as money- making tool is equivalent to birthing more babies to get higher welfare checks or increased food stamps. All these are benefits designed to help those in need, but unfortunately there are people who find ways to use these benefits to their advantage with no regard to the long term effect or the unethical nature of the plan. I don’t think that any part of surrogacy should be a covered benefit. If a military wife is compelled to be so very loving as to provide this service to another family then let the expectant family bear the financial burden, not the taxpayers. That’s right, I said taxpayers, somebody is paying….it’s not just free!

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